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Fall from grace to grass: Kwesi Nyantakyi’s story so far

Kwesi Nyantakyi

The downfall of Kwesi Nyantakyi is all but complete, after he was banned from football for life by world football governing body, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).

The Adjudicatory Chamber of the Independent Ethics Committee of FIFA banned Nyantakyi for life from all football-related activities at both national and international level with an additional fine of CHF500,000 (over $450,000) on Tuesday, October 30, following the Anas Expose.

Mr. Nyantakyi, was the youngest person to ascend the top seat of Ghana football at age 37 and looked promising for Ghana considering his fast rise to the apex of World Football as became the second Ghanaian after Ohene Djan in over half a century, to have been voted onto the FIFA Executive Committee (the highest decision making body of the Association), a feat Kwame Ntow Fiako, former Division One League Chairman of the GFA, said “would be a longer while for any Ghanaian to achieve”.

Mr. Nyantakyi entered into the GFA ranks as the Accra Representative of Ghana Premier League (GPL) side WA All Stars, during his days as a student of the University of Ghana and later joined the Executive Council of the Ghana League Clubs Association (GHALCA), where he contested for the position of Vice Chairman.

At that time, the Vice Chairman of GHALCA, automatically becomes the Vice Chairman of the GFA and so he became the second most powerful man at the GFA, after his success in the GHALCA elections, in a keen competition against Alhaji Karim Grunsah, the bankroller of King Faisal and under whom he served as the legal adviser of the club.

Mr Nyantakyi’s journey to greatness had just begun after winning his first elections in football. The then GFA Chairman, Dr. Nyaho Nyaho-Tamakloe resigned in May 2005, after a court ruled that the GFA could go ahead with impeachment proceedings against him.

Indeed, the then 37-member Executive Council, which does not see eye-to-eye with Dr. Tamakloe, since his ascension to the GFA top position the year before, passed a vote of no confidence in him.

The young lawyer then, acted as GFA Chairman until elections were held in December 2005, which he won with a landslide victory of 91 votes out of the 123 votes cast over opponents such as; former GFA Executive Council chairman Yusif Adam Ibrahim (25 votes), Kojo Bonsu (7 votes) whilst the pair of Joseph Ade Coker and Vincent Sowah Odotei failed to get a single vote.

He passed his first major test as GFA capo in 2006 when he qualified the Ghana Black Stars for its maiden FIFA World Cup tournament in Germany after several attempts had ended in failure and disappointment.

Ghana reached the second round of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which was the minimum target set by the GFA at that time, where African representative would get to.

With that sense of buoyancy among Ghanaians, hopes were high that the Black Stars would host and win the 2008 African Nations Cup, but dejectedly that wasn’t to be, as Ghana was beaten in the semi-finals by Cameroon at the Accra Sports Stadium.

Nonetheless, Nyantakyi’s greatest achievement ever in football administration awaited was Ghana’s Under-20 male national team, the Black Satellites successes at the West African championships, the 2009 African Youth Championship trophy whilst the greatest triumph came in Egypt where with 10 men, the Satellites beat Brazil on penalties to become the first African side to win a World Youth Cup tournament.

Subsequently, the Black Stars qualified for the next two consecutive world cups in South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 after 2006.

The Black Stars improved on its showing in Germany, with a quarter final elimination by Uruguay on penalties in the 2010 World Cup.

Ghana’s reputation as a football force however grew significantly and the Black Stars had become a global brand. This was months after the team had reached the 2010 African Nations Cup finals in Angola only to be beaten by Egypt.

The team, further missed the chance to win an African Cup of Nations trophy since 1982 after being beaten in the 2015 African Cup of Nations finals by Ivory Coast in Gabon.

Nyantakyi’s success with Ghana was noted regionally and on the continent and he was rewarded accordingly. In his first continental election attempt in February 2011, Nyantakyi became the first Ghanaian in 17 years to secure a place on the Executive Committee of Confederation of African Football (CAF) since 1994, when Sam Okyere last served in the post.

He was also given the nod to lead the West African Football Union (WAFU) Zone B, as president in the same year.

His meticulousness at CAF Executive meetings soon came to bear and he was deservedly made the chairman of Ethics Committee of CAF.

In September 2016, his reputation in football soared globally, with his election on FIFA’s highest decision making body – the Executive Committee and it wouldn’t be long from success chalked when he was named as CAF 1st Vice President in May 2017.

However, his career in public life had not been all that rosy, with several allegations of corruptions and misconduct leveled against him.

In 2008, Nyantakyi was accused of pocketing 10 per cent of a $15 million GLO sponsorship deal for the Ghana premier league as agency fee using a false company Midsea/Afrisat to claim the money as brokers of the deal.  In December 2010, a team of heavily armed government security operatives of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) raided the offices of the GFA in Accra over corruption suspicion.

In 2012, he was accused of using a false company, West Head, to claim $2 million as agency fee from the GNPC sponsorship to the Black Stars.

Nyantakyi, was in June 2014 accused by British tabloid Telegraph of scheming to fix Black Stars friendlies before the world cup.

All these culmination of corrupt allegations against him fueled the expose in June 2018 dubbed “Number 12” which captured him taking money and consequently ended any aspirations he ever had in football.

Even though, Nyantakyi has sworn to appeal against his punishment, his rise to the apex of football was considered faster than expected, but his fall from grace to grass had even been  more rapid!

By Dennis Osei Gyamfi

Source: GNA

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